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37th Annual CSUN Assistive Technology Conference Has Concluded

Accessibility Leadership from the Grass Roots

Date & Time
Friday, March 18, 2022 - 11:20 AM PST  
Grand GHJK  

Emphasis lately has been placed on the necessity of having executive driven change for an organization to have truly accessible products or services. However, executive action at the highest level is not always possible nor enough, especially in large and complex organizations. Accessibility specialists are passionate and motivated people who can drive real and significant change. While some executive action (like funding) can be necessary for success, the workforce at the ground level can also provide the leadership necessary to move an organization to a higher level of maturity.

We will share with you five concrete examples of how accessibility professionals, persons with disabilities, and advocates at our organization have had an extraordinary impact. This includes: creating an accessibility community of practice, creating disability business resource groups, providing testing tools and AT for the enterprise, creating a large scale training program, and building an accessible design system.

Accessibility Community of Practice (ACoP):

A small group of accessibility specialists created an enterprise based ACoP, growing from just handful of folks to over a hundred employees who are passionate about accessibility. Our ACoP meets regularly to discuss best practices, experiences, tools, and ways of addressing problems. The result is a transformative organization that is making an impact into many different facets of accessibility including disability etiquette, a more accessible workforce, more accessible products and services across our enterprise, and a more inclusive experience for everyone.

Disability Business Resource Group (BRG):

Our disability positive BRG (a.k.a., employee resource group) provides leadership in executing our organization’s commitment to a workplace that welcomes individuals with disabilities at all levels of the organization, ensuring fully accessible and disability competent healthcare for all, and honoring the right to self-determination and independence for our members with disabilities in the communities that we serve. Our grassroots BRG has brought together employees from disparate areas of the organization, representing multiple functions, who have influenced local, regional, and executive leadership to be disability inclusive.

Tools for the Enterprise:

For many years employees have had great difficulty getting the tools they need. For example, many testers, developers, and end-users across our large organization have had difficulty in obtaining JAWS because they didn’t understand the process or have the right permissions. A group of accessibility experts took on the responsibility of building an enterprise system that now enables any employee or contractor to obtain JAWS with a simple click-of-a-button.

Training Programs:

The lead for accessibility training has transformed a small group of courses limited mostly to scrum teams and built out a set of role-based curricula for the entire enterprise. Now anyone interested in accessibility can develop the skills they need. We have gone from just a few dozen people taking live or online accessibility courses per year to over 400 individuals completing more than 1,200 courses in just a year! Attendees now includes professions like member services, marketing, authors, instructors, and even nurses.

Design System:

A group of front-end developers saw that accessibility was creating an ever-increasing demand on scrum teams. To solve this problem, they decided to invest in an accessible Design System framework which ensures updates are accessible from design to code. The Design System includes our style guide visuals and reusable functional components which fit into the Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) platform. The outcome fundamentally changed accessibility within the software development lifecycle, improved efficiency, and significantly reduced the number of high-level defects.

This Presentation Link is provided by the Presenter(s) and not hosted by the Center on Disabilities at CSUN. The Center on Disabilities has confirmed, as of March 17, 2022, content linked is relevant to the presentation, but has not been reviewed for accessibility nor will the Center on Disabilities attempt to remediate any accessibility issues in the linked content. Please contact the Presenter(s) with any accessibility concerns.

  • Information & Communications Technology
  • Healthcare & Rehabilitation
  • Administration & Business Support
Audience Level
Session Summary (Abstract)
Accessibility maturity does not always depend on top-down executive driven action. We’ll share how real change at a large complex organization has been achieved by action from the ground up. We’ll provide 5 examples that anyone who’s passionate about accessibility can apply to drive change at their organization.  
Session Type
General Track  
  • Digital Accessibility
  • Information & Communications Technology (ICT)
  • Leadership & Strategy


  • Pauline Kiet
    Kaiser Permanente
  • Sherri Rita
    Kaiser Permanente
  • Mark Stimson
    Kaiser Permanente
  • Eric Yeh
    Kaiser Permanente
  • Vita Zavoli
    Kaiser Permanente

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